Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Under a Blackened Sky

Listening through Under a Blackened Sky's EP, I realized something about one of the more mainstream outfits in metal today, DevilDriver is surprisingly progressive. Quickly sampling a handful of songs from the more mainstream metal acts in my library, I noticed a similar trend. Here's where I'll stop to clarify a few things. By “mainstream” I'm referencing music with broader appeal to the general population. Music which oftens straddles a line between being classified as hard rock or heavy metal. Also worth clarifying for the purposes of this review is the meaning of the term “progressive” in this context. “Proggressive” refers not to the true progressiveness of the music, but to how closely the music resembles bands like a dream theater on a shallow level.

So where does Under a Blackened Sky fall on the spectrum?

While I would love to be able to commend Under a Blackened Sky for a brilliant atmosphere like Adeia creates or bizarre time changes or world class riffs and solos, their work falls under the latter description of progressive and not the former. While this doesn't make Under a Blackened Sky a bad band, it makes their work bland and unexciting when the general direction of their sound tends towards progressive and melodic metal. I feel that this may, in part, be a result of the combination of a mushy, bass heavy recording, a so-so mixing job, and the lack of a vocalist. Its almost as if the the listener is looking at an uncolored sketch in a glass case at a museum. The recording sounds distant and dull. With no energy or vocals to figuratively color the music in, the only thing keeping Under a Blackened Sky from dissolving into a repetitve mess is their ability to come up with original, creative riffs.

Were Under a Blackened Sky to re-mix and apply a few effects to their music, I could see their EP being an engaging listen, but as it stands, I just can't really appreciate it.

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